NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend

The wildcards have been played, and resulted in a couple of surprises. The Vikes took out the heavily favored Saints in Nawlins, and the Titans took out the Pats in Foxborough. The latter less shocking given how well the Titans played closing out the regular season and how poorly the Pats did.

But now we head into the Divisional rounds. I found this from PFT kind of interesting:

In 1990, the NFL expanded the playoff field from 10 to 12 teams, resulting in four (not two) teams earning a bye. More often than not, the home team that has had a week off wins. But the road teams still have a chance to get lucky.

For the 29 postseasons since the change was made, the home teams have swept the divisional round eight times. That’s 27.5 percent of the years utilizing the 12-team format. So in 72.5 percent of the years since the current formula was adopted, at least one road team has won in the divisional round.

Specifically, 13 times the home teams have gone 3-1 in the divisional round. Seven times, there has been a split. Once, in 2008, the visiting teams won three of the four games.

In the 10 seasons from 2005 through 2014, the road teams had a remarkably good stretch, winning 16 of 40 games (40 percent). Over the past four postseasons, however, the home teams have gone 13-3 collectively.

All four home teams are favored to win this weekend, as they usually are. In the 30th year of the current format, chances are at least one will lose. One of these years, all four will.

Regardless, the home teams are more likely to feel the pressure. Some could be feeling a little rusty. And one lucky punch early in the contest could turn a potential blowout into a close game, and if the game stays close into the fourth quarter, anything can happen.

If there is an upset of a home team, which game or games will it be in?

The first game up today is Minnesota at San Francisco. Obviously the Niners have the top seed in addition to home field today. The Vikes looked extremely good against the Saints. Their defense is really solid, and Kirk Cousins playing very well. Dalvin Cook gives them a well balanced offense, and SF is likely to focus on Cookand make Cousins try to beat them. Can they do that? It may be easier said than done given that Minnesota’s O-Line is good. There is certainly upset potential here, and there is history from the 1988 game where the Vikings bounced the heavily favored 13-3 Niners in SF in the Divisional round. It could happen again, but not betting on it.

The second Saturday game is Tennessee at Baltimore. The Titans are on a pretty solid roll ever since they switched from Mariotta to Ryan Tannehill at QB. They are a good team, especially when Derrick Henry gets untracked. But not predicting an upset of the Ravens today.

First up Sunday is Houston at the KC Chefs. Up to six inches of snow is expected in KC today, although should be well over by tomorrow’s kickoff. Ground crew gonna be busy, and there are heating coils under the field, so they should be good to go. Frankly, I have a hard time seeing the Houston offense keep up with Pat Mahomes and the Chefs. And with Honey Badger Mathieu now on the Chiefs instead of the Texans, decent bet he has given some advice to KC as to how to defend Deshaun Watson.

The final game of the weekend is the Squawks at the Cheeser’s. The Pack is my favorite team going back to childhood, and my trusty cheesehead that Phred gave me is out and ready to roll. The Packers’ defense is sneaky good, with free agent pickups Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith really anchoring the D-Line, with the always good secondary still there. Seattle is no longer really the Legion of Boom it once was, but they are still very solid. So the outcome probably turns on who has the better offense, and who plays better, Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers. The Frozen Tundra is going to be cold as ice, and the Packers have already put out a call for people to show up at 6 am Sunday to help shoveling out the stadium. This is the kind of game Beast Mode is made for, and Russ Wilson too. As much as I hate to say it, I fear this is the real upset special of the weekend, and I think the Squawks likely do just that.

Okay, rock and roll, and have a great weekend full of great football. Speaking of rock and roll, this weekend’s music is a fantastic little piece, Slippin and Sliding, by John Lennon. People forget how good Lennon really was at rockers. Give it a listen, and crank it up.

108 replies
  1. quebecois says:

    Peart’s passing yesterday pretty much had the same effect on moi as hearing Howard Cosel during Monday night football that John Lennon had been killed. Saw him in the seventies four or five times. I’m off to listen to YYZ.

  2. Molly Pitcher says:

    Go Niners !! Rooting for Packers and Titans, too ! These games are a nice break from what I am now going to refer to as Lame Duck Trump. Thinking positively here now.

  3. Peterr says:

    the Packers have already put out a call for people to show up at 6 am Sunday to help shoveling out the stadium

    That is such a Cheesehead thing to do. And you can be sure that there will be a helluva breakfast tailgate to go with it

    Meanwhile, in KC, the Chefs have been working with the Missouri Dept of Transportation to plow the parking lots and all the approaches to Arrowhead. Inside the stadium, here’s their plan:

    The Chiefs activate all of their staff to help shovel snow, from the sales team to the CFO.

    “We’ll have probably 100 staff members, probably another 150 contracted staff members who will be on site starting at about 3 p.m. on Saturday,” said [Chief’s President Mark] Donovan. “(They) will work through the evening and the night if we have to, and then be ready the next day.”

    As far as clearing the stadium seats, crews use big tubes to shovel snow from each level down to the field to be taken out of the stadium. Crews will also use something called a snow dragon.

    “Snow dragon is an interesting little piece of equipment that actually gathers all the snow that you’ve taken out of the seats, it actually puts it in a big trough and melts it, so it gets down a drain as opposed to having to move physical snow,” said Donovan.

    A Snow Dragon looks supremely cool. You know that some engineer had a lot of fun coming up with the idea.

  4. emptywheel says:

    I was betting on the Squawks anyway. But I think the forecast for this part of Flyover has been badly overblown (to my great delight, since everyone stayed home from the gym today out of a mistaken belief we were covered in sheets of ice).
    That said, HERE at least, the issue is not going to be snow but the freezing of the 2 inches of rain we got overnight. Lambeau is well drained, but it might be more of an ice rink than a snow pillow.

  5. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    re: the Squawks are no longer the Legion of Boom, but with respect to an upset — from bmaz’ keyboard to G*d’s ears!

    Grocers rejoice! They are now offering last-minute delivery for a range of football beverages + appetizers, which is kind of fun to see. Expect the avocado and beer supply of WA, ID, MT, AK and OR to be substantially impacted on Sunday ;-)

  6. Bay State Librul says:

    It’s baseball weather here.
    Mookie signed for $27M to open up the 2020 season (arbitration).
    He will take the money in John Henry Bitcoins!
    Our Prez Henry sayeth that we will be competitive, and as such, I believe him.
    He owns the Boston Globe and the Globe never lies.
    Jimmy G is my choice for the final dance in Miami….

  7. Dr. K says:

    Clowney = at least 1 personal foul. The refs will scrutinize him.
    Beastmode= 3yards and a heart attack.
    Go Pack.
    Packers and KC in SB.
    Rematch of SB 1.

  8. JWC says:

    The KC ground crew has always been super, and they have lots of experience with bad weather. I’m looking out my window right now and the snow has almost stopped, looks like about an inch and a half. They will have 24 hour to get everything in shape. Roads getting to the stadium, not so sure given MoDot. Go Chiefs. KC loves Patrick. You can be sure the stadium will be full and loud.

    • Peterr says:

      The issue is not so much the snow but the ice underneath, especially on overpasses and areas with lots of wind — and there are lots of those spots around Arrowhead.

      Looking at the KC Scout traffic info, most roads are clearing, but there have been a steady stream of accidents around the area, likely from drivers following too closely when someone in front of them taps their brakes, and the two cars meet as they slide through a slick spot.

      My forecast is for that behavior to continue up until game time, getting worse as game time approaches. Back in December, a storm came through on Sunday morning before a game that afternoon, and drivers drove like (a) it was 75 degrees, sunny, and dry; (b) they thought they’d be late to their tailgate party; and (c) they had been pre-tailgating at home before getting into the car. Not a good trifecta.

  9. scribe says:

    Some postmortem from last week.

    It turns out, when he tried valiantly to make that late-game 4th down, Josh McCown was not hobbled by being 40. He was hobbled by having torn his hamstring from the bone. Midway through the second quarter.

    He played half of the second quarter and the entire second half like that, collapsing not from emotion but from pain at the end of the game. And if you watched you saw he was not calling it in but rather playing like it was the last and only game of football he would ever get to play.

    Give credit where it’s due: he left it on the field. All of it. Held nothing back. He was a credit to the game and to the Eagles.

    A couple fewer injuries this year and the Iggles could still be playing, maybe even at home.

    Clowney, OTOH, should have been ejected for that cheapshot hit on Wentz’ head. It’s one thing to fall on the QB as he’s going to the ground. It’s another to duck your helmet into his and ram his head into the turf. Wentz is getting a lot of credit for pulling himself out, recognizing how scrambled his brains were. Would that the refs could get similar credit for calling an ejection-worthy headhunting penalty. But that won’t happen. They would have called James Silverback Harrison for less, and he’d have had another meeting with King Roger the Clown and his court of buffoons. But, for Clowney? Nope.

    There was a story out there asserting that Antonio Brown became the major asshole he is as the result of being laid out with one mighty hit by Vontaze Burfict. A few years back, late-season v. Cincy. Don’t believe it – you don’t turn into that big of an asshole from only one hit.

    Someone here tried, lamely, to tee me up for calling Boston “Cheatertown”. It was pretty funny to watch them try. But, as the week unfolded we saw that the Cheatertown label is not only merited, but also mandatory. The Sawx got caught when an honest player or two ratted out that in their World Series season of 2018 they’d been using the video system to steal signs and communicated them to hitters. No coincidence that the Sawx 2018 manager, Alex Cora, was also the bench coach for the 2017 World Series champion Astros, they of the trash can gong to pass signals stolen with technological help to hitters. Making matters worse, the Sawx’ 2018 sign-stealing came hot on the heels of their being caught using an Apple Watch to steal and communicate signs and after their solemn promise to never do [anything like] that again.

    So, Cheatin’ Bill and the Cheating Cheaters of Cheatertown now have summertime companions in Cheating, the red-faced, red-handed Cheatsox of Cheatertown. Here’s Boston’s theme music: This is going to be fun to watch.

    A friend who lives in Cheater nation passed along that a local-to-him strip joint has a marquee out front reading to the effect that Titans fans pay double. That ain’t gonna keep Biebs dinking and dunking in Patsies’ colors. Word is the Pats’ next QB is going to be Eli, Andy Dalton or some guy you never heard of.

    All I can say is, a couple years ago my Stillers played Dalton’s Bungles and, in the words of the immortal Pittsburgh Dad “we tackled Andy Dalton so hard we broke [the Cards’] Carson Palmer’s leg”.

    It seems like Pats’ OC Josh McDaniel may be having a fit of sense and is finding a way out of the Cleveland job.

    This week’s picks? Niners, Crows, Chefs and Cheese. And watching Cheatin’ Bill watching Garop pondering “what might have been”.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Repetition Compulsion

      Scribe is suffering from a “psychological phenomenon” in which he “repeats an event or its circumstances over and over again.”

      His case has been referred to Doctor David Portnoy from Barstool Sports for further analysis.

      Mr. Scribe’s high-handed and arrogant approach to the Patriots will be
      evaluated, and proper sentencing will be announced after the Super Bowl game.

      • Peterr says:

        Repetition Compulsion? You mean like this: “The Sawx got caught when an honest player or two ratted out that in their World Series season of 2018 they’d been using the video system to steal signs and communicated them to hitters. No coincidence that the Sawx 2018 manager, Alex Cora, was also the bench coach for the 2017 World Series champion Astros, they of the trash can gong to pass signals stolen with technological help to hitters. Making matters worse, the Sawx’ 2018 sign-stealing came hot on the heels of their being caught using an Apple Watch to steal and communicate signs and after their solemn promise to never do [anything like] that again.”

        Certainly sounds repetitive to the point of a compulsion.

        • Scribe says:

          Repetition compulsion?
          I’m not the one who keeps cheating [In sometimes new and different ways] and getting caught.
          That’s the real repetition compulsion.

          • bmaz says:

            Except that even the NFL has specifically found it had nothing to do with football. Every contention you have mad on this incident has pretty much been disproven. You are basically in Patriots derangement syndrome land at this point.

                • scribe says:

                  I told you so: “It seems like Pats’ OC Josh McDaniel may be having a fit of sense and is finding a way out of the Cleveland job. ”

                  And the Browns hired Stefanski from Minny.

                  All the rest of the stuff I said upthread is equally valid/accurate prediction of the future. Except that choosing the Crows over the Oilers.

    • Eureka says:

      I apparently failed to decline an Exclusive Membership Offer to join the renal calculus club, where the geometry Doesn’t Add Up. This amidst some Ertz-d-up ribs of my own. So I am late and limited in my commentary, and glad you addressed some post hoc, scribe.

      The week prior, I’d wondered the visibility from our seats. Turns out they were premium for the most tragic plays of the game (memorialized here*. And I got paper copies. _That_ is ‘peak Philly’ type stuff, paying more to remember the worst).

      The Clowney hit was clear, obvious, penalty play in 4-D realtime (where are the flags?). Then of course the turning, aiming, and spearing was super obvious on replay (and made moreso by contrasting his behavior with that of his teammates, such as the defender reaching out to touch Wentz down). So imagine my surprise, after a song-filled subway ride on the journey home, to find that NBC never even mentioned it then, and while it was replaying at the Linc, NBC was replaying Eagles’ earlier block of their FG attempt. And then to learn that NBC was teabagging Clowney for the rest of, certainly to close, the broadcast.

      [Between the hit on his 4th play and Wentz leaving after his 8th, Wentz was tossing back gloves and handwarmer (the latter white, so def Squawks’) debris on the field, then threw his own arm band off on the sideline; I watched those frames of the game from the tv broadcast, but didn’t see any of that shown.]

      That wasn’t the only uncalled cheap shot: had it been called at the time, it likely would have prevented some of those plays. Lesson from late 2018 season (~W 16): then-Texan Clowney is called late in the game for spearing Foles in the ribs. But earlier in that game, he had taken Foles for a lengthy helmet ride — facemask never called (and there is a ‘great’ photo out there of a crouched ref watching the whole damn thing). Could have saved Foles that later injury, I believe, had the facemask been called. (IIRC, Clowney was later fined for the rib spear, but crickets on the facemask.)

      I expect Clowney to be Mr. Clean tonight.

      McCown was already beloved around here even before his heroics with the detached hammy. Near universally, people are clamoring for him to stay on in some coaching role, after his mentoring of Wentz and the new receivers, among others. McCown just hadn’t had the first-team reps, which made the difference on third (eek 4th) down and especially red zone. That late Sanders drop also was basically blameless on both of their parts: Sanders was angled the only place he had to run to possibly make the down, and McCown put it the only place it could go (and Sanders, besides his bum ankle, acquired an MCL injury during that game). [I saw some claim on the twitters that McCown had been booed: false. There were ample boos of Clowney post-sacks, though, later in the game. They blitzed the daylights out of him, and otherwise took full advantage of McCown’s delays/latencies.]

      Not that what “Vegas” says matters — plenty of folk who know the Eagles saw them winning that game — but the lines did go back to favor the Eagles, likely on the Saturday news of Ertz playing.

      *NFL playoffs: Philadelphia Eagles lose to Seattle Seahawks – Inquirer, Daily News newspaper front pages

      Also from last week: bummed for the Bills, that was quite a panic-attack by poor Josh Allen at the end.

      Today: Mahomes for MVP.

      • bmaz says:

        I felt sorry for Wentz. He made it through the whole season only to leave that way in the playoffs. That said, McCown was not the problem, he played his ass off. Especially given his injury that became known later.

        But the Eagles just had too many other holes, and it caught up to them. Philly fans should be really proud about how their team hung in. Even in a loss, it was a defining kind of effort.

        • Eureka says:

          Exciting CGs next week!

          Yep, we are quite proud of them all. It was great to be part of the energy seeing them off. Wentz’ fate fits with the season. I surely haven’t seen anyone faulting McCown, everyone just appreciates him even more. They simplified the offense when he came in, and suffered more busted plays for it, esp. on crucial downs (including when McCown had to run and got splatted on that last 4th down try): there’s no way that Wentz leaving had no impact on the game, and none of us knows what else Wentz et al. would have overcome and accomplished were he on the field.

          Meant to add above: Afterwards (and I intended to do this beforehand…), I detoured over to the statue, and implored it to stop cursing us. This giant-sized backup QB is some injury(-ed)/ backups version of the Curse of Billy Penn*. They need to solder a hatch into the top of Foles’ head and place a small statuary of Wentz inside, heck maybe leave it poking out the top.

          Also the OC and receivers coach were fired, and I eagerly await the announcements of their replacements. I had alluded to such firings earlier (they seemed to be certain, finally, after the Fitzmagic game. Even tho that loss was more on the D, it was the final straw; the Groh as OC hiring never made any sense. Walch, the receivers coach, advocated to keep wholly ineffectual guys on the field when folks like Greg Ward could have been). Iggles have as many draft picks this year as the combined last two years, should be interesting next year. Whole NFC E being remade. Contrary to what seem to be the common takes, I suspect Dallas will have a surge, and Giants on the upswing.

          *Curse of Billy Penn – Wikipedia

  10. Jim White says:

    I make an exception to my NFL boycott for the playoffs, so last week was the first action I watched all season. Will pull for Niners and Chefs due to previous living locations (and Lisa’s family had Chiefs season tix way back during the first few Super Bowls).

    But I will have to skip at least parts of the late game tonight to watch Gator basketball. It’s a really schizophrenic team this year. Maybe they’ve got it figured out, but who knows. They’re in Columbia, MO tonight, so they may be unable to function due to being cold-blooded…

    • Jim White says:

      Ugh. I’m dying here. The Gators look like shit. Gave up over 50 in the first half to a terrible team and are down by 15 at the half. I’m pretty much done with Mike White (no relation). This team was loaded with talent: #6 in the preseason polls, and now they have lost all confidence, can’t shoot and have forgotten how to play defense.

      • Eureka says:

        Thank you, Jim, for this handy Mad Libs Sports template:

        Ugh. I’m dying here. The ______ look like shit. Gave up over __ in the first _____ to a terrible team and are down by __ at the ____. I’m pretty much done with________. This team was loaded with talent: #__ in the preseason polls, and now they have lost all confidence, can’t _____ and have forgotten how to play defense.

  11. Peterr says:

    Roger Goodell seems to be rubbing off on the International Olympic Committee (Internal links omitted):

    Any Olympic athlete thinking of taking a knee or raising a fist in Tokyo during the 2020 Olympic Games may have to think twice.

    NBC News reports that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) released new guidelines on Thursday that specify what protests will not be accepted. Mainly, all of them. Athletes are not allowed to display any political messaging such as signs or armbands. Political gestures such as kneeling or raising a fist are also not allowed. This comes after fencer Race Imboden and hammer thrower Gwen Berry were given 12-month suspensions after kneeling and raising a fist, respectively, at the Pan-American Games last August. The guidelines are vague on what the disciplinary action will be for athletes who violate these rules.

    The guidelines are here, and say such things as this to justify the Rule 50 policy:

    The focus at the Olympic Games must remain on athletes’ performances, sport and the international unity and harmony that the Olympic Movement seeks to advance. Athletes at the Olympic Games are part of a global community with many different views, lifestyles and values. The mission of the Olympic Games to bring the entire world together can facilitate the understanding of different views, but this can be accomplished only if everybody respects this diversity. It is a fundamental principle that sport is neutral and must be separate from political, religious or any other type of interference. Specifically, the focus for the field of play and related ceremonies must be on celebrating athletes’ performance, and showcasing sport and its values.

    This might be more believable if they didn’t play national anthems at each medal ceremony, which seems to be about as political a statement as you could come up with.

    Perhaps the most disingenuous part of the document is this: “It should be noted that expressing views is different from protests and demonstrations.” The IOC wants to say that in trying to clamp down on protests, athletes still have opportunities to have their say – just not during official ceremonies, on the field, or in the Olympic Village. They can, for instance, express themselves during interviews in the media center, on social media, or anywhere away from the Olympic venues and facilities. But immediately after saying that, they say this:

    Here are some examples of what would constitute a protest, as opposed to expressing views (non-exhaustive list):
    •Displaying any political messaging, including signs or armbands
    •Gestures of a political nature, like a hand gesture or kneeling . . .

    If I’m reading this right, it means that you can’t take a knee during an interview in the media center.

    Orwell would be proud of such doublespeak. Goodell is probably jealous.

    • P J Evans says:

      Jimmy G blocked a Viking! (The Niners may be that good.)

      I still remember the Superbowls of 1989 and 1990, when the Niners barely made it past the Bengals but flattened the Broncos.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Minnesota professional sports teams except the Lynx are synonyms for streaky unreliable play and decades of terrible management

      • bmaz says:

        I thought the Cardinals played them as tough as anybody really this year, and still lost both games. Unlike the Niners though, the Cards still have some serious holes, where SF, as you note when healthy, does not.

        • jo6pac says:

          I think the Cards are on their way up and they do have a few whole to fill. They need Fitz to play another yr or two.

          There’s is no injuries on the 9ers after this game. Good News. In other news the nfl drug tested Sherman after the game at 31 and coming off a major injury he shouldn’t playing that well;-)
          I want to play the Hawks again now that the de is full power. We’ll see in a few hrs.

  12. bmaz says:

    Oh wow, the Hall of Fame director just made a surprise visit to the CBS pregame to inform Bill Cowher was just voted into Canton. He was stunned. Really nice moment.

  13. CapeCodFisher says:

    1. Vrabel et al, Tennessee
    2. Garrapolo San Fran
    3. O’Brien Houston
    Sorry Patriot haters, not sorry…Belichick is far from being eliminated. The New
    England Patriot Foreign Legion is an NFL-wide Force to be reckoned with. GOAT Belichick’s soldiers have assembled satellite platoons across the country. Today it looks likely that Patriots are strong favorites to win another Super bowl. My favorite all Patriot Super Bowl matchup would be Patriot Vrabel vs Patriot Garrapolo.

  14. Bay State Librul says:

    Peterr writes <>
    I’m not buying it.
    Repetitive Compulsion is never productive.
    A good psychologist probes the underlying reasons such as envy, revenge, and hatred.
    Look at Trump and his “witch hunt” trope as a prime example.
    He says the word a zillion times, and it doesn’t change things, unless of course you believe his con.
    All teams cheat, and according to one web site, out of the 32 teams, Denver is ranked #1, the Steelers 4th, our Patriots 14th, the Eagles 22nd, and your Chiefs 26th.
    In terms of Super Bowl wins in the past twenty years (XXXIV-LII).
    Patriots -6, Pittsburg -2, Philadelphia – 1, and KC – Nil.
    Heed the psychiatrist advice to his patient….”accept” the facts, your repetitive compulsion is rooted in your disdain for New England and their ability to win.”
    True, the Patriots dynasty may be coming to a close.
    The available evidence is clear though, you will be able to visit the B&B boys in Canton, Ohio.

    • Bay State Librul says:

      Wow. Thanks for the update.
      More fun. More Boston. More trouble for Kraft’s marketing/public relations team.
      Jules is probably hungover
      Mug shot to follow?

      • bmaz says:

        Further update: He was cited and released, next court date not until April 13. The Beverly Hills authorities not taking this very seriously so far. And, frankly, they have experience in dealing with stars on smaller cases, so that is good.

        California has what is known In my biz as a “misdemeanor compromise” provision. Basically, the defendant, here Edelman, fixes the non-violent damage, pays a tad extra to the victim, and the whole thing gets treated as a civil matter, dismissed and goes away, no big deal. I would be stunned if that is not what happens here. The NFL League Office is going to want to chat with him though.

          • bmaz says:

            Yes. But they do try not to overreact there. Lest every Hollywood actor, Kardashian, rap punk, and various hangers on are in the clink.

  15. CapeCodFisher says:

    Not sure whether New England is the country’s strongest contender in football or presidents. Seems like they have both the nations most Super Bowls and also presidential contenders, but I could be wrong.

  16. Cathy says:

    Hmm. The real reason rednecks hold on to their long guns with a death grip: They lend credence to the assertion, “We’re going hunting, Ma!” (an acceptable reason to leave the house during a family reunion) when what we’re really doing is hying our fannies to that hill on which we can get enough signal to livestream the game.

    • bmaz says:

      Lol. I have some in law relatives not quite of that degree, but close. I went back to a wedding in South Carolina. The night before the wedding, a couple of them asked me if I wanted to go out and get some milk with them. I have never drank milk because of of asthma stuff from when I was a kid, so I kind of made a face and declined.

      My wife immediately comes over and whispers in my ear “don’t be an idiot, everybody here but the parents and grandparents knows that “going to get milk” at this time of night means going to drink beer and get high.” So I beelined it out the door behind them saying “I need some milk too, boys!”.

      • Cathy says:

        Lol! Just got back from a post-game milk run. Would say that went as expected, but it really didn’t. Even in certain defeat, keep the bookies guessing.

        Go Pack!

  17. scribe says:

    In Browns news, we have some knucklehead who spent a couple thou (or more), getting ink done of Myles Garrett bashing Mason Rudolph with Rudolph’s own helmet.
    Nice ink work – VERY nice ink work. But … really? What’s that going to look like in 10 or 20 years, when no one remembers who Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph were?

      • scribe says:

        Disagree. This is what passes for a mating display in northern Ohio. He’ll have 9 kids roaming the earth in as many years.

          • Bay State Librul says:


            Any news, after Josh McDaniels 7 hour pow wow interview with Cleveland?
            If he gets it, then Tommy can follow Josh, and viola, we can put all the rumors to bed, and offer $50Million to SF for Jimmy. Works like a charm?

            • bmaz says:

              It isn’t Josh.
              No no, it isn’t Josh
              Must have been some other OC (Stephanski),
              No no, it wasn’t Josh.

              • jo6pac says:

                Your right and his offence just got taken down. Strange choice but at lest the old white owners stayed true to white coaches only:-(

      • Peterr says:

        You and half the population of metro KC. I listened to the first half and 10 minutes of the third quarter in the car, and I thought the local KC announcers were going to lose their voices before the end of the game.

        • phred says:

          Was thinking of you, Peterr, during the first quarter, but mercifully, the Chefs got cooking and looked like the team we all expected to see.

          By the way, bmaz, thanks for the tip o’ the hat : ) No Packer fan should be without a Cheesehead, so I was happy to help out a friend in need ; )

          I’m relieved to see a much much better Pack than I saw late in the regular season, but that’s all I’m gonna say until this is over…

            • phred says:

              Finally breathing again at our house : ) I’ve been a nervous wreck for most of the 2nd half.

              Go Pack! (for SF ; )

              • bmaz says:

                Same here. Hope the Cheese does better than the last time they played in Santa Clara. That was this year and they got decimated. Ugh.

      • Molly Pitcher says:

        No, bmaz, we DO mean Niners !! Except as Cal alums, in our house, we also want Aaron Rodgers to have a great game next week,too. Just not a great game for the Packers defense next weekend.

        • punaise says:

          Here’s my quandary: I effectively boycotted football for several years due to so many problems: overall physical violence and the risk of physical injury, long-term health impacts of brain injuries, NFL poo-pooing same while turning a blind eye to domestic violence, treatment of Kaepernick… all of that conveniently dovetailed with the Niners sucking, post-Harbaugh (adios to him BTW).
          But now, they’re awfully good, and fun to watch. Conflicted!

          Raiders? Bah – good riddance.

            • punaise says:

              When the Niners were riding high a bunch of us would gather to watch the big playoff games at various local watering holes. Fun while it lasted.

              My dismissive mantra of “not following football anymore” has taken a hit and lost credibility this year. I stopped short of shouting my “boycott” from the rooftops, but if I’m to retain a shred of dignity I’ll keep watching the games in private this year.

              (No such qualms with celebrating the Warriors, although that page has turned for the near future at least.)

    • bmaz says:

      Beautiful game though. They are exactly who should be playing, and they are. And the history of those two franchises. What more can you ask for, but a great game from both. Niners are the obvious favorite, and deservedly so. But, damn, what a matchup.

      • P J Evans says:

        When I watched football with a friend, back when there were no teams in L.A. (and thus no actual blackouts) I rooted for both those teams. (I remember the Niners before Walsh became coach.)

  18. scribe says:

    For all those who derided me about the metastasis of cheating from Cheatin’ Bill and his Cheating Cheaters of Cheatertown on the one hand, and Houston’s Astros on the other, to the Cheatertown CheatSawx, today’s happenings should at least hit the mute button for a while. As you may have seen, Baseball came out with its report on the investigation it ran about the video-powered trash-can gong the Astros used in their World Series championship year of 2017. They suspended Houston’s manager for a year, Houston’s GM for a year, took Houston’s first and second-round draft picks this year and next, and hit them with a $5 million dollar fine. The fine is the maximum amount allowed under Baseball’s constitution.

    Within an hour, Houston fired the manager and GM.

    The reports on this punishment note that the driving force behind and organizing the Houston scheme was current CheatSawx manager Alex Cora, then Houston’s bench coach. Current Mutts manager Carlos Beltran, then playing for Houston, suggested the ‘stros needed to up their sign-stealing game, and Cora took it from there.

    Baseball did not punish Cora, yet, This, because they are still investigating his involvement in the 2018 World Series Champion CheatSawx use of video-assisted sign stealing which, it appears, Cora brought with him from Houston. The CheatSawx took up with the power of video immediately after (1) being disciplined by baseball for their Apple Watch sign-stealing scheme and, worse, (2) promising baseball to never ever do anything like that again, with (3) Baseball promising harsher punishments for anyone who did. Speculation is Cora is going to get hammered. I would not be surprised if he is banned for life.

    Mind you, the Houston people are the same ones who came up with the money-saving solution of strangling minor league baseball.

    Once upon a time, sign-stealing was kept under control without the involvement of lawyers, document review, extracting texts and video records from electronic devices, video cameras and all that. You peeked to see how many fingers, say, John Roseboro put down, and Don Drysdale threw at your head. Close enough to send the message, but not so close to hit you. Joe Torre caught in those days and I am sure he also dealt with sign-stealers in that manner. Now it’s all bureaucratized and so on, and makes the game more boring, less direct and ultimately less human.

    So, yes, Boston is Cheatertown. The Patsies have been caught cheating, repeatedly, and now the Sawx, too.

    Not beating a dead horse.

    In football news, Bad Teammate and Frostbite Man Antonio Brown posted a pretty vile video of him berating the woman in his life, in front of their kids, and while cops were trying to defuse the situation. An article I read on Yahoo characterized him as needing help, lots of it, but speculated he’s burnt so many bridges that no one is going to step up and offer him any. Sad, but I suspect that is what will happen and, in a year or two, someone will get hurt and Brown will find himself looking through not the grid on his facemask but rather the bars of a cell. At 31-32 he only has a few good years of football in him and I suspect he’s likely to never play again. Well, maybe in the XFL as some kind of minimum-wage freak show, but not serious football.

    Richard Sherman, fresh off an outstanding performance Saturday, gave blood to the League for a PED/HGH test. James Harrison is holding on line two, offering to explain “random” as defined by King Roger and his Clown Courtiers.

    And we get Clemson-LSU tonight. I’m feeling purple.

    • punaise says:

      Yes to all of this.

      “Scott Ostler of the SF Chronicle had fun with the Sherman thing:

      Well, the 49ers are crackling with a crazy level of energy.

      Take Richard Sherman. The cornerback is miffed that the NFL keeps “randomly” drug testing him, and he’s right, the league police are missing the boat. They should be testing Sherman for excess voltage, not drugs.

      Saturday evening, after playing three hours of intense do-or-die football, Sherman had enough energy left over to deliver a fiery lecture to reporters (topic: “I am Richard Sherman, damn it!”), hold court some more in the locker room, meet and greet friends and well-wishers, then (I’m guessing) head into the Levi’s Stadium parking lot to push the cars of fans who needed jump starts.”

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, Scribe, PLEASE “preach” to us. Coming from the Steelers perspective, which has long been among the dirtiest in history. And while you still praise James Harrison by relentlessly comparing a black man to a gorilla.

      The Steelers. Yes those fucking puritans who protected Big Ben like he was not the rapist he clearly was.

      So, yes, by all means, pull that holier than thou shit. Because the Steelers are the cleanest of NFL franchises in the history of man. Can’t wait for you to welcome back your rapist quarterback. But, please, in the meantime, blow some shit up our ass.

      Also, too, if you are going to continue this stupid shit, let us refer to the Steelers as the Raping Rapists From Rapist Town. Kraft and Brady have their faults, but Deflategate was a fraud on reportage, not an actual physical sexual assault.

      But, hey, the Pats are the problem, not actual rape enablers like the Steelers, right? And your continued attempt to portray anything related to the Patriots like Devin Nunes does the truth is tiring.

      • scribe says:

        James Harrison’s nickname which I sometimes use was given him by new HoF’er Coach Cowher. It was given him as a mark of respect for his competitive dominance and overwhelming power as a linebacker.

        As your Cardinals found out, the hard way, the one time they got to the Super Bowl.

        And Ben – the allegations you rehash were never brought to anything resembling a court. He nonetheless was suspended (6 games, 2 more than Brady got for deflating his balls), served his suspension without complaint or drama, and has not offended since.

        Calling a franchise “dirty” is cheap, easy and meaningless. Every NFL franchise has issues about players and staff behaving badly. Every last franchise. Recounting even one example per franchise would barely scratch the surface. I’m sure you’ve had occasion to provide appropriate legal services to one or another people affiliated with the Cardinals, when they got into one jam or another. For the Steelers, the most recent incident I’ve heard of was a backup defensive/special teams player who got into some kind of bar brawl a month or two ago at about 4 am. By noon, he had been cut.

        Part of the problem – a big part – is that people today have a strong tendency to judge behavior in the past by the standards of today. It’s not a new phenomenon. But it’s one which has to be constantly guarded against. It is not necessarily so that what may have happened in the past was or is “right”, but it happened then and was judged then by the standards of that day. We today can be instructed by it, one way or another, but we cannot lose sight of that.

        Besides, in the words of Lombardi, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. And my Steelers have 6.

        • bmaz says:

          You are still calling a black man a gorilla. And, no, I do not give a flying fuck that Bill Cowher was inappropriate too.

          You waltz in here every football week spewing alliteration shit about the Pats. Well, own your own Rapist Ass Rapists of Rapisville.

          • P J Evans says:

            OFFS. That’s uncalled for (especially in view of your own statements about AZ teams and their staff and owners).

            • bmaz says:

              Yeah, point out where I ever termed black people gorillas. Or did so with a bunch of alliterative bullshit. There are a lot of AZ professional ownership infirmities. Sure. As you note, I have fully admitted that over many years. Not sure what your point is.

  19. CapeCodFisher says:

    New England, birthplace of America? World leader in sports, medicine, education and politics? That New England? Yeah, no, that’s not from cheating….

  20. Eureka says:

    Hey BSL, speaking of Portnoy of Barstool: do you know why he refers to Phila. as ~ his second city or adopted city or whatever? Saw him say ~ this a couple times but don’t know the backstory.

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